The Peer Liaison Program was created to provide an additional layer of mentoring through a wealth of events and initiatives that aim to support first-year students through their transition to Yale College, especially those who belong to systematically minoritized groups. Peer Liaisons (PLs), are a select group of trained, caring upper-class student leaders affiliated with the residential colleges and one of these eight centers/offices: Afro-American Cultural Center, Asian American Cultural Center, Chaplain’s Office, La Casa Cultural: Latinx Cultural Center, Native American Cultural Center, Office of International Students & Scholars, Office of LGBTQ Resources, Student Accessibility Services. Each PL program is structured a little differently to meet the distinct needs of each community, but all are designed to help first-year students feel a sense of belonging on-campus.
Co-Head PL and Trumbull AACC PL: Mark Chung
Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
Major: History and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (E&EB)
What is your favorite food? Galbi (Korean Shortribs)
What is your favorite campus study spot? Gary Okihiro Library (3rd floor of the AACC!)
Welcome to Yale, Class of 2027! My name is Mark and I’m a junior in Trumbull studing History and E&EB on a pre-med track. I will be PLing for Trumbull (the BEST college) this year! I grew up in Seoul, South Korea, but have also lived in Singapore and Massachusetts. On campus I’m involved in the Korean American Students at Yale (KASY), the Yale Buddhist Sangha, Yale EMS, and I conduct research at Yale-New Haven Hospital. At any given time you may find me basking in the Trumbull courtyard, petting Handsome Dan on the sidewalk, or cooking at the AACC while trying to procrastinate. I can’t want to meet you all and show you all the amazing things Yale and the AACC has to offer. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, or if you just want to chat! Boola Boola :)
Co-Head PL and Silliman AACC PL: Zahra Yarali
Hometown: Murray, Kentucky
Major: Psychology, Modern Middle East Studies, Education Studies
What is your movie/TV show? I really liked watching the K-Drama “Because this is my First Life” !
What are your hobbies? Reading novels and writing stories
Hi everyone! My name is Zahra Yarali and I am a senior serving as your Silliman PL and co-Head PL this year! I grew up in a small town in western Kentucky and am originally from Iran! I’m in the Education Studies scholars program, and I’m majoring in Psychology and Modern Middle East Studies. I’ve always loved working with and learning alongside kids (in all their genuine curiosity about the world!), and I’m interested in pursuing research that promotes equitable pedagogies of childhood and adolescent education. On campus, I was the President of the Muslim Students Association last year and have helped lead the Persian and MENA student groups on campus as well. I am passionate about reimagining the ways Middle Eastern and North African students can hold space for our diverse cultural heritages and build community while at Yale and specifically with the support of the AACC. I’m so excited for another year working with the AACC this year and I can’t wait to meet all of you in the class of 2027 !!! Please never hesitate to reach out so we can get to know each other :)
Grace Hopper AACC PL: Amy Jiang
Hometown: Westford, MA
Major: Economics and Ethnicity, Race, & Migration
What is your favorite food? Sichuan food! Top picks: hot pot (火锅), mung bean jelly noodles (伤心凉粉), twice-cooked pork (回锅肉), & mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐)!
What are your favorite artists/bands? SZA, The 1975, Dominic Fike, DEAN, SiR, NewJeans
Saybrook AACC PL: Aruna Balasubramanian
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Major: History and Anthropology
What is your favorite Yale class? Culture & Everyday Life in Central Asia
What are your hobbies? Oil painting, playing the sitar, drinking tea
Berkeley AACC PL: Gaeun Lee
Hometown: Belmont, MA
Major: Math/Philosophy or Pure Math
What is your Yale class? First-Order Logic
What is your favorite campus study spot? Tsai City (sunlight is so lovely!!)
Pauli Murray AACC PL: Kai Zhang
Hometown: Queens, New York
Major: Computing and the Arts
What is your favorite Yale class? art of the printed word!
What are your hobbies? basketball, zine-making, and forcing my friends to draw with me
Jonathan Edwards AACC PL: Kirin Mueller
Hometown: Palisades, NY
Major: Cognitive Science (CogSci)
What are your hobbies? playing sitar, swimming, dancing and reading fantasy
What is your favorite campus study spot? Steep
Hi everyone! I’m Kirin, a senior in Jonathan Edwards College from Palisades, New York! I’m majoring in Cognitive Science, am pre-med and am pursuing a certificate in German. On campus, I was co-president of Yale’s South Asian Society and am involved with Accent Multilingual Magazine, Yale Club Swim, and Matriculate. I also love to play the sitar and perform at campus events when I get the chance! Some things I enjoy in my free time are spending time outside on campus, getting far too much boba, and learning languages. I’m beyond excited to be a Peer Liaison for you next year and look forward to meeting you all. Please feel free to reach out to talk about your first year or even just to chat. See you soon!
Berkeley, Grace Hopper, Silliman, Timothy Dwight, and Trumbull AACC-MENA PL: Koosha Maleknia
Hometown: Grayson, GA
Major: Computer Science & Economics with a certificate in Persian Studies
What is your favorite book? A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
What is your favorite capus study spot? Tsai City or the cubicles in Bass
Timothy Dwight AACC PL: Mahima Kodavati
Hometown: Burbank, CA
Major: Economics & Sociology
What is your favorite Yale class? English 120: Home
What are your favorite campus study spot? The Pantry!
Hi, y’all! My name is Mahima, and I’m a junior studying Economics & Sociology. I’m in Davenport College, and I’ll be a PL for Murray! I grew up in Burbank, CA (i.e. the Media Capital of the World — I grew up near Walt Disney Studios, Warner Brother Studios, and around so many actors). On campus, I’m co-president of the South Asian Society, an undergraduate fellow at the South Asian Studies Council, and an economics research assistant. In my free time, I love going for drives, trying new coffee shops, and playing with the Yale women’s rugby team. I am so excited to meet all of you and be a point of contact!
Davenport AACC PL: Maiya Hossain
Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
Major: History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health (HSHM)
What is your favorite food? Bengali shrimp curry, lox bagels, basically anything with seafood
What is your favorite campus study spot? Sunken Room in Davenport Library!
Welcome to Yale, Class of 2027! :) My name is Maiya and I’m a senior in Davenport College majoring in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health. I was born in Queens, NYC, and I moved to Ohio when I was six, which is where I grew up for the next eleven years. My family and I moved back to Queens after I graduated high school, so I’ve loved spending the last few years exploring all the neighborhoods. Outside of being a PL, I’m involved in the Yale Bengali Student Association, and I also work as an Academic Strategies Mentor, an ambassador for the Good Life Center, and a research assistant for the School of Public Health. I also love spending time in residential college courtyards and getting matcha lattes from the Elm. I am so excited to meet all of you and to be part of your support system as you begin your journey at Yale. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me about anything! <3
Branford AACC PL: Michelle Lee
Hometown: Fulton, MD
Major: Political Science/Ethnicity, Race, and Migration with Certificates in Human Rights and Korean
What are your favorite movies/TV shows? Parasite, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Before Sunrise
What are your favorite artists/bands? The Strokes, Steve Lacy, Mitski, Kali Uchis, BIA, Delegation, Earthgang
Benjamin Franklin, Ezra Stiles, Morse, and Pauli Murray AACC-MENA PL: Noor Kareem
Hometown: Dearborn, MI
Major: Ethnicity Race & Migration
What is your favorite book? Secrets of Divine Love
What is your favorite campus study spot? the beanjamin <3
Morse AACC PL: Risha Chakraborty
Hometown: San Ramon, California
Major: Neuroscience and Chemistry
What is your favorite movie/TV show? Grey’s Anatomy, Avatar the Last Airbender, The Good Place
What are your favorite campus study spot? The Saybrary!
Hello and welcome Class of 2027!! I am super duper pumped to meet you all! My name is Risha and I’m a junior in Saybrook, but I am the Morse AACC PL! I’m from San Ramon, California and have immense California pride! I’m studying neuroscience and chemistry and want to be a researching physician one day. I currently study Parkinson’s Disease at the medical school and volunteer for the Yale New Haven Hospital and HAPPY (Hypertension Awareness and Prevention Program at Yale). Outside of being a pre-med and a PL, I play trumpet for the Yale Precision Marching Band, Yale Concert Band, La Orquesta Tertulia, and tend to do a few shows every semester. I also enjoy writing about science and am part of the Yale Scientific Magazine. When I’m not doing something that can be partitioned into the productivity category, I really enjoy cracking jokes at demon hours with my friends, colonizing Saybrary rooms under the pretense of doing work, and cloud-watching on Cross Campus. I’m so excited to get to know you and share AACC Choco Pies, boba, and sunset walks. I’m always down to listen and chat about being Asian, a first-year, a Yalie, or anything else! Please feel free to reach out at any point!
Branford, Davenport, Jonathan Edwards, Pierson, and Saybrook AACC-MENA PL: Satia Hatami
Hometown: Orange County, California!
Major: Computer Science and Mathematics with a certificate in Energy Studies
What is your favorite Yale class? Discrete Mathematics (taught by John Hall specifically!)
What is your favorite campus study spot? The School of Environment or HQ!
Benjamin Franklin AACC PL: Tony Ruan
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Major: Political Science/Ed Studies
What is your favorite Yale class? Third World Studies with Professor Okihiro <3
What are your hobbies? I play saxophone and guitar!
Welcome to Yale <3! We are so excited to get to know you. My name is Tony (he/him) and I was born and raised in the West Valley in Phoenix, Arizona. I’m a junior in Benjamin Franklin College (as well as the lucky PL for this beautiful community), and I’m a Political Science Major as well as in the Education Studies Scholars program. On campus, I’m one of the three co-moderators of the Asian American Students Alliance (AASA), Yale’s oldest Asian American organization founded in 1969 and centered on exploring, reflecting, and advocating through an Asian American political identity. Meetings are open to all! In my free time, I love walking and talking, working as one of the Recording Studio Managers in Benjamin Franklin (Franklin AACC PLees yall are going to be dropping an EP soon), and watching great performances on campus!
Pierson AACC PL: William Hin
Hometown: Garden Grove, California
Major: Ethics, Politics, and Economics
What is your favorite movie/TV show? Everything Everywhere All at Once
What is are your favorite artists/bands? SZA, Doja Cat, Beyoncé, Clairo, Kali Uchis, and Don Toliver
Welcome to Yale, Class of 2027! I’m William Hin, a junior in Pierson studying Ethics, Politics, and Economics. On campus, I’m involved with the Yale Undergraduate Legal Aid Association, Yale Danceworks, Pierson College Council, and the Southeast Asian Movement at Yale. In my free time, I love taking walks, dancing to hip hop and R&B music, drinking boba, cooking, and giving hugs! Most importantly, I love spending quality time with friends and getting to know new people, so please reach out if you want to dance, grab boba, or go for a walk! I’m so excited to meet you all and help make your first year at Yale as enjoyable as possible! I’m always here as a source of support and care, so feel free to reach out about anything at all!
Ezra Stiles AACC PL: Xander Calicdan
Hometown: Hilo, HI
Major: Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB)
What is your favorite book? Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
What is your favorite campus study spot? Sterling Chemistry Laboratory (SCL) 2nd floor lounge
Hi everyone!! My name is Xander Calicdan, I’m a rising junior in Saybrook, and I’m from Hilo, Hawai’i on the Big Island! I’m currently a Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) major and am hoping to go to medical school. I’m currently involved with Kasama: the Filipinx Club at Yale, and work at the Saybrook buttery (the Sqüiche)! A few of my favorite Yale pastimes: searching for new study/nap spots, trying every menu item at Commons, and supporting friends at various performing arts shows. I am so so excited to meet all of you – PLEASE feel free to reach out about anything and everything you want to chat about, I’d love to get to know all of you! Can’t wait for the upcoming year :-)